Western Force skipper Matt Hodgson may be left with no choice but to play for a rival club next season in the wake of coach Michael Foley’s sacking.
Foley was shown the door on Thursday following the team’s 2-10 start to the Super Rugby season.
Hodgson was upset Foley wasn’t allowed to see out the season, and said the players would dedicate their final three games of 2016 to the departed coach.
The Force have already started the search for a new head coach, and chief executive Mark Sinderberry will continue contract negotiations with the likes of Hodgson, Kyle Godwin, and Nathan Charles.
Hodgson has been the Force’s best and most inspirational player since taking over the captaincy in 2013, and the 34-year-old desperately wants to play on with the Perth-based franchise next season.
The hard-as-nails flanker, who started his career with the Force in 2006, has previously spoken about his desire to finish as a one-club player.
Had Foley stayed on as coach next season, Hodgson would have been a lock-in to be re-signed.
But Hodgson says he’s yet to hear back from the Force as to whether they want him next season.
“I’ve told them I want to play on. But it’s all up in the air. It’s undecided at the moment. I’m still waiting to hear back from the Force,” Hodgson said.
“I want to play football next year. Hopefully it’s at the Force. I don’t want to retire yet. I’ll try to play football wherever (if no Force offer comes through).”
Assistant Dave Wessels has taken over as interim head coach for the remaining three games of the season, starting with the July 2 clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Hodgson, the Force’s most-capped player with 131 appearances, will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
He was the competition’s leading tackler at the time of the injury.
Hodgson also missed the first 10 rounds last year because of a hamstring injury, before returning to play a star role for the team.